Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Jack Weber

March of Events

(24 March 1934)

From The Militant, Vol. VII No. 12, 24 March 1934, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Manhattan Housing

East side, West side, the firetraps of Manhattan have taken their toll of sixteen lives of women and children in recent weeks. Horrified working class mothers and children, aroused to realization of their awful plight, have demonstrated against these conditions brought about by the landlords’ greed and have demanded enforcement of the law. And in good old muck-raking style, so effective in capitalizing misery to build up circulation, the New York Evening Post investigates and exposes the landlords responsible, none other, of course, than the elite of society, the wealthiest families, the Stuyvesants and Astors and Wendels.

These old tenement houses “paid for themselves” many times over with the exorbitant rents squeezed out of the poor. But the landlords have ever an eye for the main chance, in this case the unloading of an investment that no longer pays on the city. So Vincent Astor, “liberal” host during Roosevelt’s vacations, comes forward magnanimously to offer his many tinder-boxes to LaGuardia at any price at all – say, “to be fair”, two-thirds or three-quarters of assessed value, immediately fifty other landlords follow suit. To understand this overwhelming burst of generosity one need only remember that assessed values are far higher than present real values; that the high land values in Manhattan act as an insurmountable barrier to the rehousing of families in the slum districts; that whereas dwellings have increased in all the other boroughs, they have decreased by more than five thosuand in Manhattan in the past five years; that “recruiting” for the slums has decreased with the lowering of immigration. The mouths of the landlords water for the cash to be handed out by the R.F.C. for slum clearance. On top of this the City offer to tear down free, for the landlord, with the aid of CWA workers, all firetrap tenements which should have been razed years ago by the landlords. Yes, charity does begin at home!

Cuba —

The situation of the organizations of the Cuban workers, the trade unions in particular, has become desperate. Mendieta, the “strong” man, the puppet speaking with the voice of Wall Street is attempting to carry out the mandate granted him by U. S. imperialism. He aims to break the backbone of the Cuban working class by first smashing its organs of struggle on the economic front, the trade unions.

The Cuban Revolution, the achievement of the Cuban masses, is at stake in the present struggle. Only the working class, leading the peasants and the oppressed masses, can save the Revolution by carrying it forward. A strong united front of the workers of town and plantation must be cemented by the building of Soviets, the weapon of defense of the workers. The united front of the oppressed has the immediate aim of defending the democratic rights won by the downfall of Machado, in particular the right to organize and strike. The workers are now on the defensive but, despite the Caffery-Mendieta machinations, the struggle has not yet terminated. Mendieta can still be prevented from consolidating power completely if the masses can be rallied in the struggle for democratic rights. But this struggle must be directed along the road to Soviets.

The Japanese-English Textile Negotiations

In the war of currency depreciation for the purpose of extending foreign markets, Japan started the earliest and gained the most. She gained the most because her foreign trade forms so large a percentage of her economy and since inflation made her goods dirt-cheap In world markets, she was able to drive all competitors out of the market. The bulk of Japan’s exports are textile goods, cotton and to a less extent silk. The cheapness of Japanese cotton goods has resulted in an amazing loss of business for the British textile mills. The largest Empire market, India, was flooded with Japanese textiles until the outcry of the English capitalists brought the threat to close this market completely to Japan, Japan retaliated by declaring a boycott on Indian raw cotton.

The negotiations for a “truce” on a world scale continued in London but the Japanese, in the superior position, wanted to limit the truce to British Empire markets only. The result was the breakdown of the conference and the problem has now been taken from the hands of the capitalists into those of the diplomats. Unquestionably the Japanese will lay down political conditions for concessions in trade that will involve the stand of England in the imminent war. If Japan can obtain England’s promise to checkmate the U.S. in the matter of allying with the Soviet Union against Japan, the latter may hesitate no longer in her planned attack.

Weber (Jacobs) Archive   |   Trotskyist Writers Index  |   ETOL Main Page

Last updated: 9 February 2016